BEIRUT: The Institute of Media Research and Training (IMRT) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) unveiled Monday a study on media use and trust during the October 17 revolution as part of the School of Arts and Sciences’ seminar series launch.
The study, executed at a time when protests gripped the country, aimed to explore which media platforms the Lebanese public sought for at the time, as well as the main media platforms they used to share news about the protests.
“This study measures selective exposure during protests. When studies abroad study selective exposure, they don’t apply to us; they don’t have protests going on, an economic collapse, closures, a war next door or diseases ravaging their countries,” said Jad Melki, Ph.D. Director of IMRT and Chairperson of the Department of Communication Arts. “These are very unique situations that make our study unique.”
The study surveyed 1000 participants and unveiled multiple patterns. Television stations were revealed to be the most trusted source of news for the Lebanese population, followed by WhatsApp and Facebook respectively. Amongst the TV channels, Al-Jadeed and LBCI were found to be the most followed and trusted, followed by MTV. The least trusted news channels included OTV, al-Manar, and NBN.
“The survey was distributed to all the different Lebanese governorates in a balanced manner to represent the Lebanese population,” said Claudia Kozman, Ph.D., Research Director at IMRT and Assistant Professor of journalism at LAU, noting that they used the random stratified sampling procedure.
The same survey conducted in Lebanon was sent to countries such as Chile, France, Iraq, Hong Kong and Iran.
“This study is part of a big study being done all over the world, which we started in Lebanon,” explained Kozman. “This is a base for comparative research, which would help the theory we are testing; selective exposure and the psychological theory behind it, which is cognitive dissonance.”
Also unveiling the study were the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Cathia Jenainati, and editor of Al Adab journal, Samah Idriss.
“Throughout this semester, there will be multiple research seminars that are open to the public,” Jenainati said. “What we are hoping to do is not only get people to hear what we have to say, but also welcome feedback on our research and ways in which the community wants us to undertake it in a local and regional context.”
The research was funded by LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences (SoAS) and the Office of Graduate Studies and Research (GSR).
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